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Video: Today's Top News at Noon in Berlin

HypoVereinsbank may seek €140 Million from Ex-Top Managers

HypoVereinsbank may try to recover nearly €140 million from its former chief financial officer and other top officials in a highly watched case on the personal liability of corporate managers in Germany.

The Munich-based unit of Italy’s UniCredit bank says decisions by Rolf Friedhofen and other board members cost the bank more than €10 billion over a decade in an illegal scheme to repeatedly cash in tax refunds on behalf of clients from the German government, which angered German Finance Minister Wolfgang Schäuble.

An internal report prepared by HypoVereinsbank’s supervisory board alleges Friedhofen’s actions as CFO cost the bank €139.4 million in damages. The report also recommends trying to recover part of the money from ex-private banking head Andreas Wölfer and investment banking chief Ronald Seilheimer.

The bank is negotiating with the former managers over compensation but has not sued them for wrongdoing. More than 100 banks in Germany employed the same illegal tax strategy, and may move to recover part of their losses from the ex-employees, who typically left with large compensation packages of their own.

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Morocco Agrees to Repatriate Refugees

On Monday, Morocco became the first North African state to agree to repatriate its refugees living in Germany.

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière said Morocco has agreed to respond to German requests for repatriation within 45 days. Mr. de Maizière is on a three-day trip to North Africa and hopes to obtain similar agreements from Tunisia and Algeria.

About 12,500 refugees from the three countries made the passage to Germany since last summer. Germany has since designated the countries as “safe,” barring their residents and those from the west Balkan countries from obtaining asylum. Since the change, Germany has sent back 15,250 citizens of former Yugoslavia.

 

Volkswagen CEO calls Dieselgate “Mistake’’ at Geneva Auto Show

The CEO of embattled German automaker Volkswagen said his company needed to “learn from past mistakes” as it tries to recover from its emissions-cheating scandal.

Opening the auto show on Monday in Switzerland, Matthias Müller promised to turn around and “realign” Volkswagen this year.

Mr. Müller was criticized in January for calling VW’s emissions rigging scandal a “technical problem” in a nationwide radio interview with NPR in the United States.

Prosecutors in Germany and the United States are investigating whether top executives at VW knew of and ordered the fraud, which has affected 11 million cars worldwide. VW has consistently denied that senior managers knew of the software trick that helped falsify emissions tests around the world. Class action lawsuits filed in the United States accuse VW top officials of ordering or condoning the fraud, which the company vehemently denies.

Politicians in nine German states want to know more about the VW diesel emissions scandal and are organizing a key meeting on Wednesday. To read more about this, click here. 

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